Christmas in Lalibela

Lalibela is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Site—are thronged by pilgrims every Christmas.

The trip starts and ends in Addis Ababa. This festival and historical adventure takes you through the rich historical, archaeological, religious and natural attractions of Lalibela. It focuses on the historically and archtectual heritages of Lalibela and its surrounding. In Lalibela see the famous rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, often referred to as the 'Eighth wonder of the World' and celebrate the Ethiopian Orthodox Christmas colourfully. Because of differences between Western and Ethiopian calendars and traditions, Ethiopians celebrate that holiday on what Westerners know as January 7.

Day 1: After an hour flight arrive in Lalibela (Defined as the eighth wonder of the world) then pay a visit to the first group of rock-hewn churches. It comprises seven churches: Bette Medehanialem, Bette Mriam, Bette Meskel, Bette Denagel, Bette Debre Sina, Bette Golgota and the Silassie chapel. These groups of churches are mostly excavated from below the ground, and are surrounded by courtyards and trenches, so that they mimic normal buildings. Several of these churches are monoliths or three-quartet monoliths – free from the surrounding rock on three or four sides a style of excavation that is unique in Ethiopia.

That night, the festival begin. To begin the Mass, priests chanted and rattled sistras, palm-size instruments from Old Testament times, and the celebration continued through the night.

At sunrise, the church emptied. More than 100 priests climbed the rocky steps to the rim of the pit overlooking the church and formed a line that snaked to the very edge of the drop. They wore white turbans, carried golden scarves and had red sashes stitched into the hems of their white robes. Several deacons began beating large drums, and the priests began to sway in unison, rattling their sistras, then crouching in a wavy line to the beat and rising again—King David's dance, the last of the Christmas ceremonies.

Overnight Lalibela

Day 2: We propose an excursion by mule to Asheten Mariam Church or travel by car to the cave church of Naktuleab. Afternoon you will visit the remaining churches in Lalibela. The second group of churches in Lalibela consists of five churches: Bette Emanuel, Bette Merkorios, Bette Abba Libanos, Bette Lehem and Bette Gebrial-Rufael. A thirteenth church, Bette Giorgis stands discrete from the two main clusters. These churches were excavated from a vertical rock face by exploiting existing caves or cracks in the rock.

Overnight in Lalibela

Day 3: After enjoying a hearty breakfast your driver fetched you to airport for your return flight to Addis. Visit the Entoto Mountains, with its view over the capital, the National Museum and Trinity Church. If time permit you will visit Merkato; the biggest open-air market in Africa and shopping.

Experiences:
Attractions
Art and History
Farmers Market
Landmarks
Nightlife
Outdoor Activities
Shopping
Workshops
Other
Languages spoken: English
Recommended gear: Camera, Trekking Shoe, Torch, Video
Included in price: Transportation(Airport Pick up & Drop, City Tours); Domestic Flight (Lalibela Return trip with Ethiopian Airlines); Accommodation with Breakfast; Entrance Fees for the churches; English Speaking Local guide
Not Included in price: International Flight; Meal (Lunch and dinner); Photographic Expenses; Other Personal Expense
Additional Information: NB: Discounted fare is available if you are holder of one of the below documents as proof of residence in Ethiopia or flying your international sector by Ethiopian airlines. 1. ETHIOPIAN PASSPORT 2. ETHIOPIAN RENEWED KEBELE ID 3. ETHIOPIAN RESIDENT PERMIT 4. ETHIOPIAN YELLOW ID 5. ETHIOPIAN TICKET FOR INTERNATIONAL SECTOR